Aphrodite will not be tamed, even by Zeus. He decided to give her to Hephaestus to try and keep her contained and to get Hephaestus to make him all the good toys, especially his thunderbolts. Hephaestus, inspired by Aphrodite’s great beauty, makes her legendary girdle, a belt woven of gold that enhances her beauty even more. It is so potent that, on occasion, Hera borrows the girdle so that she can entice Zeus into bed instead of going off and having another affair.
But the girdle doesn’t ensure Aphrodite’s fidelity. The lame smith god really can’t quench her fire (yeah, I made a smithing pun about her lust). So she has affairs on him. Her favorite is Ares, god of war. Something to note about Aphrodite is that she really doesn’t understand words like discretion or modesty.
Hephaestus finds out about the affair and lays a trap for them. He forges a golden net, pretends to go out to his forge for the day, and while his wife and her boy toy are going at it, he traps them underneath the net.
Not only that, he invites all of the gods to join him to shame the lovers. All of the goddesses decline to show up, but all of the gods do so with one notable exception, Zeus. He likewise declines and calls Hephaestus a fool.
Turns out that Zeus is right. Remember that I said Aphrodite doesn’t have modesty? That’s true. Turns out that Ares does, and he’s not at all happy that the other gods are staring at his unsheathed sword. Aphrodite, however, is quite comfortable in her skin, basking in the comments of the other gods.
Apollo, Hermes, and Poseidon all openly admire the nude goddess, with Hermes commenting that he would enjoy switching places with Ares. Hephaestus sets a ransom price for Ares to get free, which he refuses to pay, but Poseidon says he’ll pay the price for him.
In this way, Aphrodite is able to select out her new lovers. So Zeus is absolutely correct about Hephaestus being a fool. Aphrodite’s nature is not towards shame, and the only thing Hephaestus did was allow her to find new admirers. And the two other gods will go on to become some of her most ardent lovers. Along with Ares. So Hephaestus went from having to deal with Aphrodite’s one lover to three lovers.
He really is totes lame.